The Red Badge of Courage

chapter 1

what did the youth think was going to happen with his group of men when he left part of them on the river bank?

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The Youth was alone with his thoughts and thinking that they would be in battle the next day and he would be "in for it". 

The youth was in a little trance of astonishment. So they were at last going to fight. On the morrow, perhaps, there would be a battle, and he would be in it. For a time he was obliged to labor to make himself believe. He could not accept with assurance an omen that he was about to mingle in one of those great affairs of the earth.